Seven dancers from Australia will compete in the 2019 Genée International Ballet Competition in Toronto

The Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) has selected 62 of the finest young dancers working to the RAD syllabus from around the world to take part in this year’s Genée International Ballet Competition, one of the world’s most prestigious ballet competitions. The week-long event will be held at Canada’s National Ballet School, Betty Oliphant Theatre and the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. The public are invited to attend elements of the competition with tickets now on sale for both the Semi-finals at the Betty Oliphant Theatre on 26 and 27 August and the Final on the 29 August at Four Seasons Centre for Performing Arts. 


This year’s Genée candidates are comprised of 13 different nationalities from Greek to Japanese, South African to Malaysian. The dancers aged 15-19 will take part in an intensive week of coaching from world-renowned teachers and choreographers. This year’s Commissioned Choreographer Gioconda Barbuto will create two variations which will receive their world-premiere at the Final on Thursday 29 August. Audiences at the Final will also be treated to an excerpt from The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude, performed by selected artists from The National Ballet of Canada. The judging panel comprises of Karen Kain, Artistic Director of The National Ballet of Canada, Dame Monica Mason, former Director of The Royal Ballet, Mikko Nissinen, Artistic Director of Boston Ballet and Magdalena Popa, Principal Artistic Coach of The National Ballet of Canada. 


Of the candidates, seven are Australian. They will be joined by dancers from across the UK (England, Wales and Scotland), the USA, Canada, Brazil, Greece, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa and Spain. 


The Australian candidates are: 

• Samara Brender aged 15 from Killara, New South Wales, trained by RAD Registered 

Teacher Jasmin Bobyk 

• Paloma Hendry-Hodsdon aged 17 from Kerrie Valley, Victoria, trained by RAD 

Registered Teacher Shirley Rogers 

• Primrose Kern aged 16 from Brisbane, Queensland, trained by RAD Registered Teacher 

Heidi Landford 

• Jade Marquez aged 15 from Hornsby, New South Wales, trained by RAD Registered 

Teacher Emma Jane Morton 

• Amber Mitchell-Knight aged 16 from Bowral, New South Wales, trained by RAD 

Registered Teacher Susan Sargisan. She has also been trained by Damian Smith and Claire 


• Eliza Wenham aged 15 from Sydney, New South Wales, trained by RAD Registered 

Teacher Marie Walton Mahon 

• Mia Zanardo aged 15 from Sylvania, New South Wales, trained by RAD Registered 

Teacher Hilary Kaplan and Archibald McKenzie 

They are joined by two dancers who are currently training in Australia: 

• New Zealander Kimberley Mear aged 18, trained by RAD Registered Teacher Melinda 

Palmer and Yuiko Masukawa 

• Japanese dancer Kie Nagayama aged 18, trained by RAD Registered Teacher Barbara 



Since its inception in 1931, the Genée has awarded 75 gold medals, with winners going on to dance with some of the world’s leading ballet companies including Australian Ballet, The Royal Ballet, The Joffrey Ballet, Hong Kong Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, and The National Ballet of Canada. A number of Australian dancers are Genée alumni, including Steven McRae, Amber Scott, Lana Jones, Alexander Campbell, Claudia Dean, Montana Rubin, Ashley Shaw and Lachlan Monaghan. Last year’s competition in Hong Kong also saw two Australian candidates take home coveted medals, with Joshua Green winning the gold medal and Caitlin Garlick being awarded a silver medal. Both dancers were trained by RAD Registered Teacher Karen Ireland. 


To find out more, and to book tickets visit